Tell me about your background. Where you grew up, where you live now, education, work experience? Share some interesting things about yourself that we should know about.
I grew up in Virginia, outside of Washington D.C., but moved to Orlando to attend UCF (Go Knights!) where I received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. It was five years ago when I met my husband, who is a graduate from Deland High, and two years ago, we moved back to Deland. During this time, I have fallen in love with the town and community.
Currently, I’m an active alumna of Kappa Alpha Theta and serve on the Advisory Board as the Facility Management Advisor for the Epsilon Theta Chapter at Stetson University. During my free time, I love being with my family (although we are usually working on our small family farm) traveling, and of course, watching college football.
What inspired you to write this book? What is the story behind the story?
The idea for The Burden of Trust was literally a dream. This dream was different than my others because even after I woke, it continued to replay in my mind. A co-worker suggested that I write it down, and as I began writing the dream started to expand. What started as a doodle has turned into a full trilogy.
What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle?
My biggest challenge has been learning how to write. Writing a novel is completely different than composing an email or an essay. You have to learn how to tap into character’s feelings and emotions, and transport the reader into their world.
What has been your biggest “aha” moment or success?
Most people don’t know that I initially had self published The Burden of Trust back in 2014. I sent it off to a reviewer and got a life lesson in criticism. She had explained that while the story was good, the writing was horrible. I was devastated. I remember sitting in a hotel room (because I was traveling with my husband) sobbing. It felt as though it had all fallen apart. Twenty minutes later and some support from my husband, I made the decision to start over. It was now or never, and I was determined to write a successful novel.
What authors do you like to read? What books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I tend to read what I’m writing. If it’s romance, I’m reading a Nicholas Sparks or Kristin Hannah. When I find that I’m lacking for descriptive language, I always turn back to Gone with the Wind, my all time favorite.
Do you write every single day? Any writing rituals?
I try to write every day, but sometimes life tends to interrupt that. When the mood or motivation strikes, I sit down and write…even if it’s a napkin at a restaurant.
What are your interests outside of writing?
First of all, I love college football! My family has a small farm, just a few cows, chickens and ducks and I enjoy going out in the mornings with my husband to take care of them. I love traveling to off-the beaten path places, meeting locals and learning about their culture.
Share some tips for other Authors or Aspiring Authors: What would you do differently? What would you do the same? Please share anything you think would be beneficial to those reading this.
If you are writing your first novel, I would suggest hold off on publishing until it’s been edited by a professional and tested by a few reviewers. Don’t rely on friends and family for critical feedback. I learned a lot writing The Burden of Trust and one of the biggest things that I helped me was to read my book out loud. It’s amazing all the little errors you find. Always remember writing a novel is 10% writing and 90% editing!
Renee Garrison is the award-winning author of The Anchor Clankers. To suggest an author interview, email her at email@example.com.